Tripoli/Berlin, March 19 (DPA) The Libyan government late Friday vowed that it would not use violence against opposition activists and rebels and asked for the international community to send observers to confirm its ceasefire.
The forces supporting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have come within 50 km of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya, insurgency leaders told broadcaster al-Jazeera.
Deputy Foreign Minister Chalid Kaim, in an announcement broadcast by CNN, said Gaddafi’s troops would not attack the rebel stronghold.
“We do not intend to enter Benghazi,” Kaim said.
His remarks came after the United Nations Security Council a day earlier authorized enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from Gaddafi’s government troops and mercenaries. The international community, NATO, the Arab League and Africa Union are meeting Saturday in Paris to discuss implementation of the UN mandate.
Referring to the UN resolution, Kaim said the Libyan government had not flown any more missions against opposition forces in the previous two days. He said the government invited international observers to Libya to monitor the ceasefire that Libya declared earlier Friday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama warned Gaddafi to not only end the attacks but also pull out all his troops from the opposition stronghold. Sarkozy demanded that the government restore electricity, gas and water services to the affected areas.
“This is not negotiable,” Sarkozy said in a statement from the Elysee Palace in Paris.